Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Goal Click has brought together photographers from across Russia for a special new project, Goal Click: Russia. These photographers documented the "real Russia" and Russian culture culture through football stories. From Yekaterinburg to Kazan, Volgagrad to Nizhny Novgorod.
In Yekaterinburg, east of the Ural Mountains, Sergey Poteryaev took photos at the new Yekaterinburg Stadium during a match between Spartak Moscow and FC Ural. Sergey's photos came from inside the Spartak ultras section.
What did you try to show with the photos?
The photos show the fans of Spartak Moscow. I have been one of them for 17 years. Spartak is the most popular football club in Russia, but had not won the league championship for 16 years. Last year it finally happened.
The photos were taken in the new Yekaterinburg Stadium, where the World Cup will be held. Unfortunately after losing to the local team "Ural", Spartak lost the opportunity to defend the title.
Is there a specific person you shot that has a great story?
I did not try to distinguish the hero from the crowd. In the world of ultras there is unity. If circumstances so require, they can unite before the enemy. At the right moment the ultras can rally for an important matter. There is a motto that repeats from time to time: "One for all and all for one". My favourite photo is where sun that breaks through flags and hands.
What does Yekaterinburg (and your photos) represent about modern Russia?
Yekaterinburg is a modern city that has managed to cope with its difficult history and offer new cultural meanings. Even the new stadium was not built thoughtlessly - the temporary stands will be removed after the World Cup and the capacity will be reduced to 25,000. It is a comfortable and economical solution.
What is the future of Russian football?
The future is sad if football clubs are not made private. Almost all clubs in Russia (especially the Premier League) belong to and are sponsored by state structures. Football does not develop, as clubs are not interested in making money. They are used to the fact that they are given money by the state.
Private football clubs can be counted using the fingers of one hand. And those clubs, whose owners are businessmen, try to develop the infrastructure and youth sports schools. All this is necessary if the football club wants to save money on crazy transfers.
It is terrible, that in a country where there are so many problems, so much money is spent for elite sport. And if you look at the average attendance of stadiums, it becomes even sadder. Money in the emptiness.